Several epidemiological studies have shown an association between infection or inflammation during pregnancy and increased risk of autism in the child. In addition, animal models have illustrated that maternal inflammation during gestation can cause autism-relevant behaviors in the offspring; so called maternal immune activation (MIA) models. More recently, permanent changes in T cell cytokine responses were reported in children with autism and in offspring of MIA mice; however, the cytokine responses of other immune cell populations have not been thoroughly investigated in these MIA models. Similar to changes in T cell function, we hypothesized that following MIA, offspring will have long-term changes in macrophage function. To test this theory, we utilized the poly (I:C) MIA mouse model in C57BL/6J mice and examined macrophage cytokine production in adult offspring. Pregnant dams were given either a single injection of 20 mg/kg polyinosinic–polycytidylic acid, poly (I:C), or saline delivered intraperitoneally on gestational day 12.5. When offspring of poly (I:C) treated dams reached 10 weeks of age, femurs were collected and bone marrow-derived macrophages were generated. Cytokine production was measured in bone marrow-derived macrophages incubated for 24 h in either growth media alone, LPS, IL-4/LPS, or IFN-γ/LPS. Following stimulation with LPS alone, or the combination of IFN-γ/LPS, macrophages from offspring of poly (I:C) treated dams produced higher levels of IL-12(p40) (p < 0.04) suggesting an increased M1 polarization. In addition, even without the presence of a polarizing cytokine or LPS stimulus, macrophages from offspring of poly (I:C) treated dams exhibited a higher production of CCL3 (p = 0.05). Moreover, CCL3 levels were further increased when stimulated with LPS, or polarized with either IL-4/LPS or IFN-γ/LPS (p < 0.05) suggesting a general increase in production of this chemokine. Collectively, these data suggest that MIA can produce lasting changes in macrophage function that are sustained into adulthood.
MIA; Maternal; Immune activation; Macrophage; M1; M2; Mouse; Autism; Behavior; Inflammation
Poor self-rated health (SRH) and elevated inflammation and morbidity and mortality are robustly associated in middle- and older-aged adults. Less is known about SRH-elevated inflammation associations during young adulthood and whether these linkages differ by sex.
Data came from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. At Wave IV, young adults aged 24–34 reported their SRH, acute and chronic illnesses, and sociodemographic and psychological characteristics relevant to health. Trained fieldworkers assessed medication use, BMI, waist circumference, and also collected bloodspots from which high-sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP) was assayed. The sample size for the present analyses was N=13,236.
Descriptive and bivariate analyses revealed a graded association between SRH and hs-CRP: Lower ratings of SRH were associated with a higher proportion of participants with hs-CRP > 3 mg/L and higher mean levels of hs-CRP. Associations between SRH and hs-CRP remained significant when acute and chronic illnesses, medication use, and health behaviors were taken into account. When BMI was taken into account, the association between SRH and hs-CRP association fully attenuated in females; a small, but significant association between SRH and hs-CRP remained in males.
Poor SRH and elevated hs-CRP are associated in young adults, adjusting for other health status measures, medication use, and health behavior. In males, SRH provided information about elevated hs-CRP that was independent of BMI. In females, BMI may be a better surrogate indicator of global health and pro-inflammatory influences compared to SRH.
self-rated health; C-reactive protein; inflammation; sex differences; young adulthood; cardiovascular risk; Add Health
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and nuclear-binding domain (NOD)-like receptors (NLRs) are sensors of bacterial cell wall components to trigger an immune response. The TLR4 agonist lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a strong immune activator leading to sickness and depressed mood. NOD agonists are less active but can prime immune cells to augment LPS-induced cytokine production. Since the impact of NOD and TLR co-activation in vivo has been little studied, the effects of the NOD1 agonist FK565 and the NOD2 agonist muramyl dipeptide (MDP), alone and in combination with LPS, on immune activation, brain function and sickness behavior were investigated in male C57BL/6N mice.
Intraperitoneal injection of FK565 (0.001 or 0.003 mg/kg) or MDP (1 or 3 mg/kg) 4 h before LPS (0.1 or 0.83 mg/kg) significantly aggravated and prolonged the LPS-evoked sickness behavior as deduced from a decrease in locomotion, exploration, food intake and temperature. When given alone, FK565 and MDP had only minor effects. The exacerbation of sickness behavior induced by FK565 or MDP in combination with LPS was paralleled by enhanced plasma protein and cerebral mRNA levels of proinflammatory cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α) as well as enhanced plasma levels of kynurenine. Immunohistochemical visualization of c-Fos in the brain revealed that NOD2 synergism with TLR4 resulted in increased activation of cerebral nuclei relevant to sickness.
These data show that NOD1 or NOD2 synergizes with TLR4 in exacerbating the immune, sickness and brain responses to peripheral immune stimulation.
Our findings demonstrate that the known interactions of NLRs and TLRs at the immune cell level extend to interactions affecting brain function and behavior.
Anxiety; c-Fos; Corticosterone; FK565; Food intake; Kynurenine; Lipopolysaccharide; Locomotion; Muramyl dipeptide; Proinflammatory cytokines
We examined the hypothesis that self-compassion is associated with lower levels of stress-induced inflammation. On two consecutive days, plasma concentrations of interleukin-6 (IL-6) were assessed at baseline and at 30 and 120 minutes following exposure to a standardized laboratory stressor in a sample of 41 healthy young adults. Participants who were higher in self-compassion exhibited significantly lower day 1 IL-6 responses, even when controlling for self-esteem, depressive symptoms, demographic factors, and distress. Self-compassion was not related to day 2 IL-6 response but was inversely related to day 2 baseline IL-6 levels, and to increase in baseline IL-6 from day 1 to day 2. These findings suggest that self-compassion may serve as a protective factor against stress-induced inflammation and inflammation-related disease.
Acute psychosocial stress; inflammation; interleukin-6; self-compassion; self-esteem
To prime local tissues for dealing with potential infection or injury, exposure to an acute, intense stressor evokes increases in circulating and local tissue inflammatory proteins. Regular physical activity facilitates stress-evoked innate reactivity and modulates the expression of inflammatory proteins in immuno-metabolic tissues such as white adipose tissue (WAT). The impact of regular physical activity on stress-evoked inflammatory protein expression in WAT, however, remains unclear. To investigate this question, lean male F344 rats (150–175 g) were allowed voluntary access to a running wheel for 6 weeks followed by exposure to an acute stressor (100, 1.5 mA-5 s inescapable tail shocks). Using ELISAs, corticosterone, heat shock protein 72 (Hsp72), macrophage chemoattractant protein (MCP-1), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and IL-10 concentrations were measured in plasma and subcutaneous, intraperitoneal (epididymal and retroperitoneal WAT depots) and visceral (omental and mesenteric WAT depots) WAT compartments. Acute stress increased plasma concentrations of all proteins except TNF-α and, depending upon the compartment examined, WAT concentrations of MCP-1, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-10. Exercise ubiquitously increased IL-1β within WAT, potentiated stress-evoked Hsp72 in plasma and WAT, and differentially increased stress-evoked MCP-1, IL-6, and IL-10 within WAT. These data suggest: (a) inflammatory proteins in non-obese WAT may serve compartment-specific immune and metabolic roles important to the acute stress response and; (b) voluntary habitual exercise may optimize stress-induced augmentation of innate immune function through increases in stress-evoked Hsp72, MCP-1, IL-6, and IL-10 and decreases in IL-1β/IL10 and TNF-α/IL10 ratios within white adipose tissue.
Innate immunity; Acute stress; Visceral adipose tissue; Sterile inflammation; Cytokine; Interleukin-1beta; Interleukin-6; Interleukin-10; Macrophage chemoattractant protein-1; Heat shock protein 72
Schizophrenia is associated with increased cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality. Schizophrenia is also associated with immune and inflammatory abnormalities, including aberrant blood levels of lymphocytes, cytokines and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP). The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between total and differential white blood cell (WBC) counts, hsCRP, and indices of cardiovascular disease risk in patients with schizophrenia and related non-affective psychoses. 108 inpatients and outpatients age 18–70 with non-affective psychoses and 44 controls participated in this cross-sectional study. Subjects had a fasting blood draw between 8 and 9 am for glucose, lipids, total and differential WBC counts, and hsCRP. Vital signs and medical history were obtained. Patients with non-affective psychosis had significantly higher hsCRP levels than controls (p=0.04). In linear regression analyses, lymphocyte and monocyte counts were a significant predictor of the total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio in subjects with non-affective psychosis (p≤0.02 for each). In binary logistic regression analyses, total WBC count was a significant predictor of an elevated 10-year estimated risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovascular disease in subjects with non-affective psychosis (p≤0.03 for each). Associations between total and differential WBC counts and cardiovascular disease risk indices were stronger in males than females with non-affective psychosis. Our findings provide further evidence that measurement of total and differential WBC counts may be germane to the clinical care of patients with schizophrenia and related disorders, and support an association between inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk in these patients.
Schizophrenia; Non-affective psychosis; Leukocytes; Neutrophils; Monocytes; Lymphocytes; C-reactive protein; Inflammation; Cardiovascular disease; Risk assessment
Obesity is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation in peripheral tissues caused, in part, by the recruitment of inflammatory monocytes into adipose tissue. Studies in rodent models have also shown increased inflammation in the central nervous system (CNS) during obesity. The goal of this study was to determine whether obesity is associated with recruitment of peripheral immune cells into the CNS. To do this we used a bone marrow chimerism model to track the entry of green-fluorescent protein (GFP) labeled peripheral immune cells into the CNS. Flow cytometry was used to quantify the number of GFP+ immune cells recruited into the CNS of mice fed a high-fat diet compared to standard chow fed controls. High-fat feeding resulted in obesity associated with a 30% increase in the number of GFP+ cells in the CNS compared to control mice. Greater than 80% of the GFP+ cells recruited to the CNS were also CD45+ CD11b+ indicating that the GFP+ cells displayed characteristics of microglia/macrophages. Immunohistochemistry further confirmed the increase in GFP+ cells in the CNS of the high-fat fed group and also indicated that 93% of the recruited cells were found in the parenchyma and had a stellate morphology. These findings indicate that peripheral immune cells can be recruited to the CNS in obesity and may contribute to the inflammatory response.
Obesity; Inflammation; Neuroinflammation; Microglia; High-fat diet; Bone marrow chimera
Cognitive impairment is commonly reported as a consequence of chemotherapy and can have considerable impact on everyday life on cancer patients. Thus, it is imperative to have a clear understanding of this phenomenon and the underlying mechanism involved. In the present study we examined the role of neuroinflammation and myelination in chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment. Female Sprague-Dawley rats (12-months old) were used in the study (total n=52, 13rats/group). Rats were randomly assigned to either the chemotherapy or saline control group. The drug combination of cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and 5-fluorouracil (CMF) was given i.p. once a week for 4 weeks. Rats in the control group received normal saline of equal volume. Animals from each group were further randomized to receive either: cyclooxygenase (COX-2) inhibitor, NS-393, to block the inflammatory response or vehicle. NS-398 was given at 10 mg/Kg i.p. and equal volume of saline (vehicle) was injected i.p. as vehicle. Both NS-398 and vehicle were injected one hour after the first CMF dose and then given daily for 28 days then rats were tested in the Y maze. Our data showed that: (1) CMF led to the increase in the levels of inflammatory mediators IL-1β, TNF-α, and COX-2 while levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 decreased; (2) cognitive impairment and neuroinflammation resulting from CMF persisted 4 weeks after the treatment ended; and (3) administration of NS-398 attenuated CMF-induced neuroinflammation and effects on myelin and cognitive impairment. These findings suggest the involvement of neuroinflammation in CMF-induced changes in myelin and myelination, and cognitive impairment.
Numerous methods of T cell depletion lead to impairment of learning and memory function in mice. While adoptive transfer of whole splenocytes rescues learning behavior impairments, the precise sub-population and antigenic specificity of the T cells mediating the rescue remains unknown. Using several transgenic mouse models in combination with adoptive transfers, we demonstrate the necessity of an antigen-specific CD4+ T cell compartment in normal spatial learning and memory, as measured by the Morris water maze (MWM). Moreover, transfer of a monoclonal T cell population reactive to the central nervous system (CNS) antigen, myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), was sufficient to improve cognitive task performance in otherwise impaired OTII mice, raising the possibility that the antigen-specificity requirement of pro-cognitive T cells may be directed against CNS-derived self-antigens.
While Ecstasy (3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA) has been shown to modulate immune responses, no studies have addressed drug-induced alterations to viral infection. In this study, bone marrow-derived macrophages were exposed to MDMA, then infected with murine gammaherpesvirus-68, and the expression of monokines assessed. MDMA-induced reductions in virus-stimulated monokine mRNA expression were observed in a dose-dependent manner. In particular, IL-6 mRNA expression and secretion was significantly decreased in gammaherpesvirus-infected macrophages exposed to MDMA. Concentrations of MDMA capable of reducing monokine production did not induce significant cell death and allowed normal viral gene expression. These studies represent the first to demonstrate the ability of this drug of abuse to alter a viral-induced macrophage response.
macrophage; gammaherpesvirus; Ecstasy; 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine
Staphylococcal enterotoxin A (SEA) is a bacterial superantigen that induces pronounced T cell expansion and cytokine production. In addition, SEA activates the HPA axis and forebrain regions relevant to cognitive functions. Since learning-related cognitive changes have not been assessed in response to SEA, spatial learning in the morris water maze (MWM) was determined in male C57BL/6J mice subjected to acute or repeated injections of 5 μg SEA or Saline. Injections were given 2 hrs prior to 4–5 days of hidden platform sessions. Animals were then rested for 1 month and given retraining without further injections. In addition, splenic IL-1β, IL-2 and TNFα, plasma corticosterone, and hippocampal IL-1β and TNFα were measured after the regimen of treatment used in the behavioral experiments. The results showed no learning impairment following acute or repeated SEA challenge. Moreover, when retested one month later, and without further injections, the SEA group showed more rapid relearning of the MWM. This suggested that coincidental superantigenic T cell activation and training served to promote long-term improvement in recovery of learning. Furthermore, repeated SEA challenge continued to drive increases in plasma corticosterone, but with a compensatory reduction in hippocampal IL-1β. However, while hippocampal TNFα was reduced after acute and repeated SEA treatment, this was not statistically significant. In view of the importance of modest glucocorticoid elevations and hippocampal IL-1β in promoting contextual learning, the data point to the hypothesis that SEA promotes long-term plasticity by restraining disruptive increases in hippocampal IL-1β, and possibly TNFα, during learning.
Staphylococcal enterotoxin A; cytokines; corticosterone; interleukin-1β; tumor necrosis factor; interleukin-2; morris water maze; learning; hippocampus; T cells
The pathophysiology of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is not yet known; however, studies suggest that dysfunction of the immune system affects many children with ASD. Increasing evidence points to dysfunction of the innate immune system including activation of microglia and perivascular macrophages, increases in inflammatory cytokines/chemokines in brain tissue and CSF, and abnormal peripheral monocyte cell function. Dendritic cells are major players in innate immunity and have important functions in the phagocytosis of pathogens or debris, antigen presentation, activation of naïve T cells, induction of tolerance and cytokine/chemokine production. In this study, we assessed circulating frequencies of myeloid dendritic cells (defined as Lin-1−BDCA1+CD11c+ and Lin-1−BDCA3+CD123−) and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (Lin-1− BDCA2+CD123+ or Lin-1−BDCA4+ CD11c−) in 57 children with ASD, and 29 typically developing controls of the same age, all of who were enrolled as part of the Autism Phenome Project (APP). The frequencies of dendritic cells and associations with behavioral assessment and MRI measurements of amygdala volume were compared in the same participants. The frequencies of myeloid dendritic cells were significantly increased in children with ASD compared to typically developing controls (p < 0.03). Elevated frequencies of myeloid dendritic cells were positively associated with abnormal right and left amygdala enlargement, severity of gastrointestinal symptoms and increased repetitive behaviors. The frequencies of plasmacytoid dendritic cells were also associated with amygdala volumes as well as developmental regression in children with ASD. Dendritic cells play key roles in modulating immune responses and differences in frequencies or functions of these cells may result in immune dysfunction in children with ASD. These data further implicate innate immune cells in the complex pathophysiology of ASD.
Autism; dendritic cells; repetitive behaviors; amygdala volume; innate immunity
The quality of the early environment, especially during the neonatal period, influences the development of individual differences in resistance to stress and illness in adulthood. A previous study demonstrated that neonatal stress augmented proinflammatory cytokine expression and viral replication in influenza virus-infected adult mice. The goal of the following study was to examine the lifelong effects of neonatal stress on the behavioral response to an immune challenge. Neonatal stress consisted of separating mouse pups from their dams (maternal separation, MSP) at critical points of their development. In the first study, pups were separated from the dam daily for 6 hr between postnatal day 1 and 14. As adults, these mice were infected with influenza A/PR8 virus. In a second study, a similar paradigm of MSP was employed, and as adults mice were injected with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (ip). In a third study pups were separated from the dam for 24 hr on postnatal day 4 or 9. As adults, these mice received ip injections of LPS. In all three studies, changes in body weight, food and sweet solution consumption were examined following immune challenge. As previously described, activation of the immune system using influenza virus infection or LPS administration resulted in sickness behavior that consisted of body weight loss, anorexia and reduced consumption of a sweet solution. Furthermore, neonatal stress induced more rapid kinetics of sickness behavior and augmented several aspects of these symptoms. Together with previous studies, these findings suggest that neonatal stress disrupted the regulation of innate resistance to an immune challenge resulting in enhanced immunological and behavioral responses to immune activation. Thus, long lasting effects of early stress events may be the basis for individual differences in health and susceptibility to disease.
Maternal separation; sickness behavior; influenza virus; lipolysaccharide; mice
Previous studies conducted in Western cultures have shown that negative emotions predict higher levels of pro-inflammatory biomarkers, specifically interleukin-6 (IL-6). This link between negative emotions and IL-6 may be specific to Western cultures where negative emotions are perceived to be problematic and thus may not extend to Eastern cultures where negative emotions are seen as acceptable and normal. Using samples of 1044 American and 382 Japanese middle-aged and older adults, we investigated whether the relationship between negative emotions and IL-6 varies by cultural context. Negative emotions predicted higher IL-6 among American adults, whereas no association was evident among Japanese adults. Furthermore, the interaction between culture and negative emotions remained even after controlling for demographic variables, psychological factors (positive emotions, neuroticism, extraversion), health behaviors (smoking status, alcohol consumption), and health status (chronic conditions, BMI). These findings highlight the role of cultural context in shaping how negative emotions affect inflammatory physiology and underscore the importance of cultural ideas and practices relevant to negative emotions for understanding of the interplay between psychology, physiology, and health.
culture; negative emotion; inflammation; Interleukin-6
Studies show that an escalation in both incidence and severity of allergic asthmatic symptoms can largely be due to increased sedentary lifestyles. In addition, moderate aerobic exercise has been shown to reduce the severity of asthma; albeit by an unknown mechanism. Studies do implicate the re-distribution of T helper (Th) cells as a means of moderate aerobic exercise altering an immune response. We have previously reported that exercise decreases T helper 2 (Th2) responses within the lungs of an ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized murine allergic asthma model. Therefore, we hypothesized that exercise alters the migration of OVA-specific Th cells in an OVA-challenged lung. To test this hypothesis, wild type mice received OVA-specific Th cells expressing a luciferase-reporter construct and were OVA-sensitized and exercised. OVA-specific Th cell migration was decreased in OVA-challenged lungs of exercised mice when compared to their sedentary controls. Surface expression levels of lung-homing chemokine receptors, CCR4 and CCR8, on Th cells and their cognate lung-homing chemokine gradients revealed no difference between exercised and sedentary OVA-sensitized mice. However, transwell migration experiments demonstrated that lung-derived Th cells from exercised OVA-sensitized mice exhibited decreased migratory function versus controls. These data suggest that Th cells from exercised mice are less responsive to lung-homing chemokines. Together, these studies show that moderate aerobic exercise training can reduce the accumulation of antigen-specific Th cell migration into an asthmatic lung by decreasing chemokine receptor responsiveness.
Bioluminescence; exercise; asthma; T cell migration; Th2 response
Clinical observations suggest that the nervous and immune systems are closely related. For example, inflammatory skin disorders; such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, rosacea and acne; are widely believed to be exacerbated by stress. A growing body of research now suggests that neuropeptides and neurotransmitters serve as a link between these two systems. Neuropeptides and neurotransmitters are released by nerves innervating the skin to influence important actors of the immune system, such as Langerhans cells and mast cells, which are located within close anatomic proximity. Catecholamines and other sympathetic transmitters that are released in response to activation of the sympathetic nervous system are also able to reach the skin and affect immune cells. Neuropeptides appear to direct the outcome of Langerhans cell antigen presentation with regard to the subtypes of Th cells generated and neuropeptides induce the degranulation of mast cells, among other effects. Additionally, endothelial cells, which release many inflammatory mediators and express cell surface molecules that allow leukocytes to exit the bloodstream, appear to be regulated by certain neuropeptides and transmitters. This review focuses on the evidence that products of nerves have important regulatory activities on antigen presentation, mast cell function and endothelial cell biology. These activities are highly likely to have clinical and therapeutic relevance.